English football mourns Ray Clemence

The former Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and England goalkeeper, who won three European Cups with the Reds, has passed away at the age of 72.

Ray Clemence on England duty with Kevin Keegan and Phil Thompson
Ray Clemence on England duty with Kevin Keegan and Phil Thompson Liverpool FC via Getty Images

English football is mourning the passing of Ray Clemence, the former England, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper who won three European Champion Clubs' Cups and two UEFA Cups with Liverpool.

Clemence, who was 72, earned 61 caps for his country and was a pivotal figure in the Liverpool side which established the club as a European force in the 1970s. After joining from Scunthorpe United in 1967, Clemence went on to make 665 appearances for the Reds, and played in their European Champion Clubs' Cup final triumphs in 1977, 1978 and 1981. In the first final, a 3-1 victory against Borussia Mönchengladbach in Rome, he made a crucial save from Uli Stielike with the teams level at 1-1.

Clemence had previously denied Mönchengladbach with a penalty save in the first leg of the 1973 UEFA Cup final, when Liverpool won their first European honour 3-2 on aggregate. He won a second UEFA Cup in 1976, and by the time he left Anfield in 1981, he had also earned five English league titles, an FA Cup and League Cup.

After joining Tottenham, Clemence won the FA Cup in 1982 and played his part in the club's victorious UEFA Cup run in 1983/84, although he was absent for the final.

Clemence would have made more than 61 appearances for England but for the fact he was competing for a place with Peter Shilton. He made his debut against Wales in November 1972 in Sir Alf Ramsey's 100th match in charge and, alternating with Shilton, appeared in two of England's group games at the 1980 UEFA European Championship finals in Italy.

Although he captained his country for the first and only time against Brazil at Wembley in 1981, Clemence remained on the bench throughout England's 1982 FIFA World Cup finals campaign in Spain. "I'm absolutely devastated to be told of the sad news that Ray Clemence has just passed away," said Shilton. "We were rivals but good friends. Ray was a brilliant goalkeeper with a terrific sense of humour."

Clemence was later a goalkeeping coach for the national team, starting under Glenn Hoddle in 1996 and continuing until Roy Hodgson's reign. By the time of his retirement in 2013, he had assumed a wider role across all England development teams.

There will be a pre-match tribute for him at Wembley on Wednesday ahead of England's UEFA Nations League match against Iceland.

Clemence had been living with prostate cancer, which was first diagnosed in 2005. His family said in a statement: "With great sadness, we write to let you know that Ray Clemence passed away peacefully today, surrounded by his loving family. After fighting so hard, for such a long time, he's now at peace and in no more pain.

"The family would like to say a huge thank you, for all the love and support that he's received over the years. He was loved so much by us all and he will never be forgotten."